Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative releases recommendations

MONTPELIER — Gov. Phil Scott was joined by his Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative Steering Committee (VOREC), Thursday, to present the group's first report, which recommends strategies to strengthen and expand Vermont's outdoor recreation economy.

The first report to Gov. Scott follows months of public meetings and comments, and incorporates input from hundreds of Vermonters across the state.

"Vermont's recreation opportunities are diverse and prevalent in every corner of the state," said Gov. Scott. "As my Administration works to grow Vermont's economy, it became clear that we could do more by leveraging these assets, which is why I established VOREC. I look forward to continuing the positive momentum of this group, as we explore ways to implement these recommendations."

Gov. Scott also detailed new initiatives that will begin moving forward, based on VOREC's recommendations. Those include:

- A new pilot program, the "Outdoor Recreation Friendly Town program," to support communities in their efforts to grow local outdoor recreation economies. This program will provide resources to strengthen regional networks, connect local communities and businesses with trails and other outdoor recreation resources and promote outdoor recreation culture, lifestyle and assets, as well as for data collection.

- A new camping gear loan program to launch in five state parks, designed to enable more Vermonters to enjoy Vermont's camping facilities. The Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation will manage the program, in coordination with the Outdoor Gear Exchange.

- A private sector-led initiative to create an Outdoor Business Alliance. This non-profit business organization will look to increase and expand the outdoor sector and support implementation of additional VOREC recommendations.

The Governor noted he will continue working with VOREC to further explore each of its recommendations as his Administration continues its focus on growing the economy, making Vermont more affordable and protecting the most vulnerable.

VOREC, which the Governor established by Executive Order 11-17, is charged with strengthening and expanding Vermont's outdoor recreation economy. The 15-member task force is chaired by Forests, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Michael Snyder, with support from the Agency of Commerce and Community Development's designee, Tourism and Marketing Commissioner Wendy Knight. Its members represent stakeholders in state government, nonprofit organizations, and those in various outdoor industries.

"I'm so pleased to put these recommendations forward, as we work together—across all sectors—to grow our outdoor recreation economy in a way that is sustainable and inclusive," said Commissioner Snyder. "This Collaborative, and the initiatives we'll move forward, are important not only to growing this area of our economy, but also to improving access, participation and environmental stewardship, further strengthening Vermont's position as a leader in the outdoor recreation sector."

"I want to thank this dedicated steering committee for their tremendous work, as well as the hundreds of Vermonters who attended public meetings and submitted public comment regarding this first-of-its-kind initiative," said Gov. Scott. "Their recommendations are valuable to our work to grow our economy and strengthen the natural landscapes we cherish, while providing greater opportunities to enjoy the outdoors in our beautiful state."

To view the full report, visit http://fpr.vermont.gov/VOREC.


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